She palmed the window insistently. She banged her hand on the glass of the passenger side of my old green van. I was in the passenger seat, Shelly was driving, and all of Mini Band and friends were inhabiting the van. My old band, my old van, years ago.
She had a short gold dress and impractical heels. She needed to get in, and there was no appropriate space. I opened the door, and offered her my hand. I helped her up, and she positioned herself atop my lap, or more so toward my right thigh, leaning in. Safe. I am the safest person on earth.
Some man was chasing her and threatening to hurt her. Our new friend was a skinny lady of color thanking Mini Band for aiding her quick escape. Let me ask. Is it important that she was black? We were all white kids in that long green van. U.S.A. folks still feel compelled in our writing to mention race. It still does matter. It still is a different painted portrait, and my brush is only so precise. Concise. I love you.
We didn't need to go far. We altered our course toward her safe haven.
I think about this lady who we met. As a human mind I am pure and pouring with empathy; saturated in privilege and bleach. If I have learned anything it is that I know less as I get older. Approaching 36 gladly I am left to wonder as always before if it is mushrooms after mushrooms that have opened my mind. I doubt so. However I believe it was with assistance that I have been able to embrace science and the vastness of the universe, and the desert's own view of the stars.